The Shipping News

"OK"

The Shipping News Review


Kevin Spacey is the Spock of serious actors. He's dependable, methodical, passionless, a huge fan of saying everything by saying nothing at all. He tends to gravitate towards characters hiding some sort of fiery secret pain by denying themselves exterior displays of emotion or excitement. In certain films, this really works, thus earning Spacey a reputation as on of Hollywood's best working actors. In The Shipping News however, it bombs badly.

It's not really Spacey's fault, it's just the script. Spacey is Quoyle, a newly single father, after his slutty whore of a wife (Cate Blanchett) is killed while selling their daughter on the black market to earn spending cash for her latest biker boyfriend. Quoyle spends his time grieving and in denial and soon decides to follow a long lost aunt to the homeland of his family in Newfoundland. There, he stumbles into a job as the shipping news reporter for the local newspaper.

The Shipping News could have been the gut-wrenching story of a single father coping with the loss of his wife, coming to grips with her true nature, and trying to reconstruct a new life for his little family amidst a strange and unfamiliar homeland. Instead, that is totally lost amidst a jumble of themes and fractured half-stories, none of which are never truly dealt with or fully developd.

Shipping News just can't decide where it should go. Is this a tale of the supernatural? Are we exploring local superstitions? How about Man vs. the Sea? Cheating spouses? Resurrections? Journalistic integrity? Missing emotionalism? Old woman lesbianism? It's just too much.

At least the film isn't boring. That mishmash of neglect at least keeps you guessing about where the movie will go. And despite its fractured nature, the film isn't awkward, just unresolved. With such a fine cast of high-energy actors, even Spacey's somewhat spaced out delivery doesn't get annoying.

And deep in that Newfoundland train wreck of conflicting explorations are moments of genuine profoundness and love. Because of those, The Shipping News isn't a total loss. It stands instead as a mere footnote, another example of filmmaking -- what might have been.

Suffer through the DVD and you'll find a commentary track (with writer, director, and two producers, joy!) as well as one of those lame canned making-of documentary shorts. Alas, none of it helps the movie at all.

The news is: she's stealing your car.



The Shipping News

Facts and Figures

Run time: 111 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th January 2002

Box Office USA: $11.4M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 55%
Fresh: 72 Rotten: 58

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Quoyle, as Wavey Prowse, as Petal, as Agnis Hamm, as Tert Card, as Jack Buggit, as Beaufield Nutbeem, as Billy Pretty, as Dennis Buggit, as Grace Moosup, as Bayonet Melville, as Silver Melville

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.